Have you ever listened to a podcast? If you have, you know that there's not one word to truly describe them. Podcasts can be funny, entertaining and sweet, but they can also be informative, heartbreaking or even awe-inspiring. Since there are so many different kinds of podcasts, there really is something for everyone to listen to. But if that doesn't convince you to give one a listen, here are some additional benefits that come from listening to podcasts.

1. You'll become more imaginative.


In a study done by Emma Rodero at Pompeu Fabra University, it was found that listeners of podcasts generate more vivid images in their minds and have high levels of emotional involvement in the story. Another study proves that podcasts stimulate mental imagery more intensely and cause listeners to have to pay more attention. Since listeners of podcasts are only listening to a story and not seeing it, it causes them to have to use their imagination and build pictures of who and what they are listening to in their head. Therefore, their imaginations are more strong and vivid than those who do not listen to podcasts. 

2. You can learn new things.


Podcasts come in a variety of lengths with different topics and subjects, so you are bound to find one that interests you. If you are interested in learning random facts ad nauseam, check out No Such Thing As A Fish, where they discuss interesting tidbits of information the entire time. Want to hear the latest theories for season six of Game of Thrones? Pop on an episode of A Podcast of Ice and Fire. Podcasts are such a great use of time because they allow you to become more deeply involved in areas you are interested in. 

3. Use your multi-tasking skills.


Another wonderful thing about podcasts is that they're easy to listen to while you're doing something else. I often turn one on while I'm walking to class or waiting for a lecture to start, but you can also listen to them while you're cleaning or browsing Pinterest. There are so many different ways and places to listen to podcasts, and they don't distract from other important tasks you may need to complete. 

4. You will become a better listener.


In this day and age, talking and getting your ideas out is seen as one of the most important parts of interactions with other people. However, podcasts are all about listening to other people's stories, and through this, you will gain a greater appreciation for simply listening. It is easy to let your mind wander off during a conversation and completely miss what the other person was saying, and the same goes for podcasts. Therefore, listening to podcasts will help you to engage yourself more fully in stories and to become a part of what you are listening to.

5. Learn about the world and gain empathy.


Podcasts allow you to see the world from many different perspectives and hear thoughts from different voices. Podcasts allow you to control who you are influenced by, so you are able to access multiple perspectives if you want. Through this and through listening to stories, you will see the world in a completely new and exciting way. I remember my first time listening to This American Life, when they did an episode on the Greek refugee camps. The episode opened my eyes to what was going on and allowed me to feel a great deal of empathy for the people there.

6. They're a different kind of entertainment.


If you're not too into reading books for pleasure, check out one of the more story-oriented shows such as Welcome to Nightvale or S-Town. These kinds of podcasts provide the listener with an opportunity to become invested in a setting, plot and characters, just like you would if you were reading a book. There are all different kinds of story podcasts, and they're great for when you're bored on a long train or bus ride.

7. Gain new interests.


The podcast Serial became popular because it takes viewers through murder cases, revealing new information in each episode, and attempting to find out what really happened on the scene. This kind of investigation is not usually something you can be a part of, and so the show gained lots of viewers who were interested in following the case and what happened. With podcasts like this one, it's easy to gain an appreciation for areas you wouldn't normally pay attention to. You are also able to become immersed in different subject areas and maybe even gain some new interests along the way.

Podcasts allow you to hear the voices of so many different people, which is important in the current climate of our society. Not only can you access viewpoints both alike and different from your own, but you have knowledge at your fingertips and the ability to learn new things. Podcasts are a very important form of media that should be valued now and in the years to come.

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